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Missouri runs but can’t hide from sixth SEC loss

Barry Odom’s Tigers fall to 3-8 following a strange 63-37 loss at Tennessee.

NCAA Football: Missouri at Tennessee Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

Missouri (3-8, 1-7) could run but they couldn’t hide from another loss, falling to Tennessee (8-3, 4-3), 63-37.

Mizzou struck first, on a 22-yard scamper by freshman Damarea Crockett. Unfortunately, the Tigers’ kicking woes continued as Ben Tesson missed Missouri’s NCAA-leading sixth extra point of the year.

Tennessee answered back quickly with a score of their own, as Joshua Dobbs linked up with wide receiver Jajuan Jennings for a 49-yard touchdown pass, giving the Vols a 7-6 lead that they would never relinquish.

Big plays were a major issue for Missouri’s “revamped” defense. Tennessee violated the Tigers’ defense both on the ground and through the air, gaining 609 yards.

After sacking the quarterback on six occasions versus Vanderbilt, the vaunted D-Line Zou was only able to muster one sack of Dobbs. More often than not, the Tigers found themselves grasping at air as they unsuccessfully made attempts to bring Dobbs to the ground. Dobbs torched them for five total touchdowns — three passing and two rushing.

Meanwhile, Missouri’s secondary struggled for the second time in three weeks. Senior Aarion Penton got lost in the sauce on Dobbs' first touchdown pass, and things just only got worse from there for the Penton and company. The secondary’s struggles were highlighted by their inability to make open field tackles on multiple occasions.

While the defense took a huge step backwards, the game wasn’t a complete loss. The Tigers’ offense continued to show improvement, marching up and down the field versus Tennesee’s depleted defense and nearly breaking a school record for yards in a game with 740 on 110 plays.

True freshman Damarea Crockett continued his dominance on the ground. Crockett toted the rock 24 times for 225 yards and a touchdown, Ish Witter chipped in 163 yards on 31 carries and two touchdowns, and Nate Strong also had eight carries for 39 yards, highlighted by a 23-yard rush.

Crockett’s performance pushed him over the 1,000-yard mark and into the record book — he broke the school’s freshman rushing record, previously held by former Mizzou great Brad Smith.

Freshman Tucker McCann appears to be back on track, after knocking in all four of his extra point attempts and drilling a 28-yard field goal that brought Missouri within five points early in the fourth quarter.

Sophomore Drew Lock threw one touchdown and two picks (one being a pick six) while completing 21 of his 43 passes for 320 yards. Lock wowed fans by dropping a 50-yard touchdown pass into Dimetrios Mason’s bread basket.

Fueled by the power of the durag, junior J’Mon Moore hauled in nine catches for 134 yards. Moore recorded his SEC-leading, fifth 100-yard performance of the season, but even the marvelous flow of Moore’s durag cape couldn’t put an end to his struggles holding on to the ball. He had four drops and fumbled as he attempted to reach into the end zone with 3:13 left, slamming the door on any potential comeback by the Tigers.

Mizzou’s 63-37 loss is the first loss in program history at Neyland Stadium. The Tigers will try to right the ship as they close out the 2016 season versus the Arkansas Razorbacks on Black Friday.